Nearly half way through a fundraising exercise to ensure it can become self-funding, the Community Channel has raised less than 7% of the £300,000 it needs by 30th June 2016.
At the beginning of June, the channel announced it wanted viewers to buy a share in the channel as it strives to become a self-funding service. But with 16 days of the fund-raising campaign to go only around £20,000 of the £300,000 required has been raised, threatening the long-term future of the channel, which specialises in factual programming with an emphasis on promoting social and charitable causes.
Lenny Henry has become one of the most high-profile supporters of the fundraising exercise, which is being organised via the Crowdfunder website. Under the scheme, viewers above 16 years of age can become co-owners of the channel, with £50 buying one share.
Since its launch in 2000, communications charity Media Trust has run the Community Channel as a wholly-owned subsidiary. Now, the channel wants to become a Community Benefit Society (designated as an organisation that conducts business for the benefit of the community). By issuing community shares, the channels needs to raise at least £300,000 by 30th June to secure and grow Community Channel for future generations.
This is part of a business plan that sees the channel becoming self-financing over the next five years, with funding from increased advertising, sponsorship and grant income alongside new revenue streams. The Community Channel also plans to grow the TV audience and launch new digital and social media services.
While the channel has seen its audiences grow in the latest five years, it has suffered being shunted around spare Freeview capacity, and having its broadcast hours extended, then cut, then extended and cut again at short notice. It is available on all major TV and online TV platforms.
To find out more about owning a stake in the Community Channel, visit the channel's Crowdfunder page.